Whatever it is in life, Germans either have a plan or they make one up (preferably more than one). Things years in the future want to be organized. Does that mean they’re not spontaneous or they don’t like change and avoid risks at all cost? I’m hesitant to answer this with a "yes", but a "no" isn’t correct either. Planning has its many advantages, most of all that there are rules to go by, and a goal to set eyes on and reach. You’ll find plans and thorough organization everywhere in Germany, from neat lists pinned to office notice boards over the most complex school projects to detailed city and traffic maps even for small villages. An example I love to discuss: waste separation and recycling. If you’re new to it, you’ll be happily lost in the task of sifting through all your waste and separating it by material, colour, size and what-not. There are a handful of different tons, bags and containers to throw specific things into, and you can spend hours occupying yourself with dissecting your garbage… One could write books about garbage separation in Germany!
I’m a typical German in that regard. While I do like white bread / toast, I terribly miss the brown bread and whole-meal bread I am used to. If you go to a German supermarket, you’ll find shelves and shelves of freshly baked as well as practically packaged bread and rolls. It comes in all shapes and sizes, contains every grain and ingredient possible, and covers a huge range of tastes. If there’s a bread king to be crowned, it’ll be Germany. In a year, a German will approximately eat the equivalent of his own weight in bread and rolls (almost 90 kg, to be more specific). I know personally how miserable tourists and migrants can feel when they cannot find proper Vollkornbrot abroad…
Anyone who has ever tried to learn German will agree with me that it’s a difficult language. I love it because it is so full of possibilities for a writer (then again, so is English, though in a completely different way). On the one hand, Germans seem to love their language. They mostly refuse to learn other languages, they manage to give it life by speaking it in dozens of dialects, and they are very proud of German literature (rightly so). Also, they are a big fan of long words. You can find thrilling examples here—which aren’t even that long, go figure. On the other hand, I think the Germans sometimes do their best to kill their language. There’s the Rechtschreibreform, the German orthography reform introduced 1996. People went through hell to get it thought out, then through hell again to have it implemented in various stages over the course of several years. The aim was to simplify grammar and spelling, but if you ask me (and a million others), the mission was only partly successful. To top it all, now there’s talk of ditching the wonderful new rules and slowly reverting to the archaic style of the past… Here’s a little insight on the Neue Rechtschreibung.
Now it’s your turn! Tell me what you think is typically German, or ask me about something you’ve always wondered about.